This beautifully preserved 1960s house has the potential to become a family’s perfect home. The Panel is here to work out where to go.

The story so far

This four-bedroom brick-veneer house was built in 1965. Joanne and Heinz bought it in late 2013 from the family of the man who built it when, at 97, he reluctantly moved into a nursing home. At the end of a Bayside cul-de-sac, the house is set on a 607sqm block and was described by the selling agent as a “well-preserved treasure”. “We love the generous, light-filled space,” says Joanne. “We’ve made a few changes, such as painting the kitchen cabinets white and polishing some of the floorboards, but everything else is pretty much as it was in the 1960s.” When the couple bought the house, they purchased a few pieces of furniture from the owners, too, including the master bedroom’s bedhead, complete with cassette deck. “While we love the original features, such as the timber door frames, windowsills and built-in wardrobes, and want to keep the character of the place intact, we need a bit more space plus a second bathroom,” says Joanne.

What’s stopping them?

The couple wants more space for their family but can’t decide whether to put on another storey or extend outwards. “We keep going round in circles as to how big the renovation should be as we don’t want to overcapitalise,” says Joanne.

the budget: $300k

what the real estate agent says…

Pandelis Plousi, Hodges Real Estate

“There’s a very strong market in the Bayside area. We’re less than half an hour from the CBD, so it’s popular with people moving out from the city fringe who are looking for a well-facilitated property to raise a family. The beach is only a kilometre away and the local schools are in demand. Subdivisions are constantly occurring, so these houses on 600-square-metre-plus blocks are popular with developers, too. Families tend to pay a bit more though, as it’s an emotional buy. Joanne and Heinz bought this place in late 2013 and, in its current state, it would now be worth about $1.3 million plus. It would definitely be a bonus to have a fourth bedroom. A lot of houses around here have gone up because people will pay a premium for a good-sized backyard, but whatever they decide to do, it would be hard to lose money. A nice modern house around here will go for $1.6 million plus.”

the Panel’s advice

Andrew Benn Architect and director, Benn + Penna Architecture

It’s best to keep things on one level if you have the space, as going up is a big job and can be risky when managing costs, plus there’s already a large, underutilised front garden. It can be tricky with council approval building out the front, but the house is set back and on a cul-de-sac so they can be less strict with the front building lines. We could add a couple of rooms and a verandah, knock through two existing bedrooms to make a master suite, and it would be a good opportunity to give the front of the house a facelift at the same time. Since the kitchen is being upgraded, it would make more sense to move it to the middle of the house so the living area could flow outdoors onto a long verandah at the back.

Wayd Munro Builder, Focusbuild

The most pressing thing for Joanne and Heinz is to sort out the bathroom situation. It’s currently four small rooms – bath, shower in a cupboard, toilet and laundry – with its own hallway. We could knock them through to one big space or find a way to keep the toilet separate. A lot of people are going back to this setup now and it makes sense if you have a young family. Joanne loves the pink and grey mosaic tiles but you’d never get them up to reuse them. You can buy something similar as a nod to the heritage of the house. One thing to be careful of is stripping out the lino in the toilet and laundry; it almost certainly contains asbestos so shouldn’t be lifted when kids are in the house. Best leave that job to the professionals.

Lisa Koehler ISCD educator, stylist and interior decorator

Joanne would like to keep the existing timberwork around the doorframes, so that should serve as a reference point for the new paint colours; it will be really important to work tonally with the warmth of the timber tones. I’d choose something with a yellow base but I would use it at half or quarter strength to make sure it doesn’t end up too overpowering. With all the styling elements, it will be important to stay within the warm range of colours to create a cohesive palette. When selecting colours for the kitchen, Joanne should ensure the palette has warm tones to connect with the original parts of the house but also complementary cool shades to go with the freshened-up palette in the new kitchen/dining area.

& the rest…

out the back “The large north-facing backyard is an excellent start,” says Andrew. “But as it is, the house has almost no connection to the garden. The back door comes off the side of the house into an undercover area that the family rarely uses, and the windows at the back of the house are small. It would be great to see a verandah across the whole of the northern side of the house, elevated to the same level as the interior floors. Once the inside is reconfigured, all the living areas could spill out through glass sliders, which would break up the orange brickwork and make the facade more attractive. We could use details such as the existing slender post to set the architectural style so it works in harmony with the original features that Joanne and Heinz love.”

outside in “There are plenty of elements to consider regarding your furniture when planning an exterior room,” says Lisa. “You need to think about the connection from interior to exterior so it feels spacious and cohesive, rather than two different places. Link the style of outdoor furniture to the interior in texture, colour and style and make sure the flooring is similar in tone and style – factor in the aspect as dark colours will retain heat and lighter tones will reflect it. It’s also important to think about the layout of furniture between the interior rooms and the exterior room – having your outside table running alongside the interior dining table is a common mistake – it’s best to put some space between indoor and outdoor dining.”

the windows

“Joanne and Heinz don’t like the look of the old aluminium windows and they’re also not working,” says Wayd. “But before you spend a small fortune on new ones, there are things you can do to make what you have a lot more likeable. First, upgrade the glass. It’s currently 4mm float and changing that to 6.38mm laminated glass would help cut the amount of heat getting in and out. Then paint the aluminium white to modernise it – use a metal etch primer to make sure the paint sticks. Lastly, you can replace the rollers if you can find new ones to fit. These ones have had it and that’s what’s making the windows stick when you try to open them. If the couple ends up taking the rear windows out in favour of doors leading onto the deck, they should keep the old window frames to use as spares when upgrading the rest of the house.”